Obama signs into law drought information system reauthorization

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 - President Obama signed into law today legislation (H.R. 2431) that reauthorizes the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) through fiscal year 2018.

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The law supports an interactive “early warning system” of timely and accurate drought information, as well an integrated weather monitoring and forecasting system. Since the NIDIS Act was signed into law in 2006, government agencies have worked to develop a long-term plan for drought prevention, research, and education.

“This bipartisan legislation ensures that the federal government can continue to provide timely, effective drought warning forecasts and vital support to communities that are vulnerable to drought,” Obama said. “States, cities, towns, farmers, and businesses rely on tools and data from the NIDIS to make informed decisions about water use, crop planting, wildfire response, and other critical areas. As climate change increases the intensity of weather-related disasters such as droughts, wildfires, storms and floods, providing access to updated drought-related science and tools is growing even more important.”

Obama noted that a number of western states, California in particular, are suffering through a severe drought. He said federal agencies have formed a National Drought Resilience Partnership to help communities better prepare for droughts in the long term, and prevent the worst impacts on families and businesses.

The law also requires the under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere to report to Congress on implementation of the NIDIS program.

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